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Growing Garlic at home

Garlic has been used in kitchens throughout the world for hundreds of years, with a strong, delicious smell and numerous health benefits, also growing garlic is so easy to do at home.

No matter if you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, growing garlic at home is the perfect start to your own kitchen garden. So, join the team at Capalaba Produce as we give you the best tips and tricks or growing your very own garlic at home.

Choosing the right garlic

Before you get the gloves on, it’s important to understand the different types of garlic and the importance of choosing the right one to grow. There are two main varieties of garlic, hard neck and soft neck. Hard neck garlic has a stiff central stem and is known for its stronger flavor, this one grows better in cold climate. Soft neck garlic is the garlic that is commonly grown in Southeast Queensland. This garlic has a more flexible stem and tends to store for longer.

To get the best result grow your crop it’s important to get high quality, healthy garlic bulbs, like the ones sold at Capalaba Produce. Garlic from grocery stores are known to be treated with growth stoppers which will limit your success in growing.

Planting your garlic

Garlic is usually planted in at the start of Autumn, giving it plenty of time to get established before the cooler weather kicks in. To plant garlic in your garden, you need to just follow these 3 simple steps.

Preparing the soil – make sure your plant your garlic in a spot with lots of sun and well-draining soil. Loosing the soil to around 20cm deep and mix in some compost or manure to improve the nutrients and drainage.

Separate the bulbs – Break the garlic bulbs apart into individual cloves, making sure to keep the skin intact.

Planting the bulbs – simply plant your bulbs into the soil about 5cm deep with the clove point upwards. Continue planting the rest of the cloves about 30 cm to 45 cm apart. Once you’ve finished planting make sure to give them a good drink of water.

Taking care of your garlic

Like we mentioned before, garlic is quite easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance, that being said, here’s a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your garlic.

Water – garlic loves consistently moist soil, especially during Spring. So make sure to keep the soil damp, but not waterlogged.

Mulching and fertlising – it’s a good idea to put a layer of mulch around the garlic, to help keep the soil damp, suppress weeds, and keep the soil at an even temperature.

When Spring arrives, we recommend topping up your garlic with some fertliser to give them some extra nutrients as they go into their growth season.

Weeding – make sure to keep the area around your garlic plants free of weeds. Weeds can compete with your plants for nutrients and water.

Enjoying your garlic

Garlic is usually ready to harvest in late Spring or early Summer. You can tell when the garlic is ready to harvest by the lower leaves starting to turn yellow and dry out. Once your garlic is ready to harvest, it’s time to get it out of the ground.

To harvest garlic is pretty straight forward, simply loosen the soil around the bulb and lift it out of the ground, making sure not to damage the bulb.

Once out of the soil it’s time to cure the garlic, this helps intensify the flavour and hardens the skin. To cure your garlic, simply hang it in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight for 2 – 3 weeks.

Now your garlic is cured it’s time to store or enjoy your garlic! Simply trim the roots and tops, leaving a few cm of the stem attached. Either put it to work in the kitchen or store it in a cool, dry place with good airflow, we recommend a mesh bag.

It’s as simple as that, before long you’ll be able your own flavour filled garlic to your kitchen creations, delicious homemade sauces, or adding a bit of extra zing to your roast veggies. Don’t forget to set aside a few bulbs so you can start the process all over again next year.

There’s our tips on how to choose, plant, and grow your very own garlic at home. As always if you have any questions pop down to Capalaba Produce for the best advice on your own kitchen garden.

Happy gardening from Nic and the team at Capalaba Produce.

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